My journey to shoot for the moon.

Did you see this story?  It makes me so angry.  Basically, a 9-year-old boy with autism was put in a duffel bag and closed in after – now get this – being told to put down a ball, throwing it across the room.  And his punishment was being put in a bag?  His mother was called to school because he was “acting out.”  I’m sorry, but what world do these educators live in.  Throwing a ball?  Maybe if he threw a computer, or a ceramic cup.  But a ball?

Anyone who works with kids with autism knows that self-control is a problem, at times.  But, in my opinion, this was such a minor thing.  I am certain that there were much larger issues that the child had and that there were other battles to be fought.  Not the battle of throwing a ball.

But I just wonder . . . were the educators putting him in the bag for punishment?  Or were they attempting to provide sensory input?  Let me explain.  Body socks are therapeutic devices used to help kids with sensory issues (usually something that kids with autism struggle with).  They are made of Lycra or Spandex.  They can provide, when used properly, kids with autism a way to learn body awareness.  They can be calming.  They also can help provide deep pressure input.

Body Sock for Sensory Integration Therapy

If this is what the educators were attempting, and I’m not certain that they were (it is only a guess on my part – and the only way that I can make sense of this), what were they thinking?  A duffel bag?  That is nothing like Lyrca or Spandex.  A body sock is designed to enclose a child.  A duffel bag is not.

As a paraprofessional, I’ve used a body sock with students.  It was always a choice – do you want to go in the body sock or do you want to sit on the couch to calm down?  If a child said, “no.”  Then the answer was no.  Sometimes a student would go into the body sock and we would use a large exercise ball to provide pressure.  Many kids with autism don’t understand where their bodies are in space, so a body sock can help with that.

It is obvious, to me, that these educators are sadly lacking training.  Training in child development, natural consequences, positive reinforcement and working with kids who have significant special needs.  It is a wonder how they ended up in a classroom teaching students.  And it makes me ill.

In my 4+ years working with kids with significant special needs, I have had to restrain children.  But before I was allowed to restrain a child, I had to be trained.  Then restraints could only be used if the child was a danger to himself or someone else.  Danger to property was not a consideration – unless by damaging property they would cause physical harm.

A body sock is not restraint.  It is a therapeutic device that should be used voluntarily by a child.  Ours had Velcro so that the child could decide when they were ready to come out.  But putting a child in a duffel bag, not allowing them to choose when they will come out, is criminal.

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Comments on: "Putting A Student With Autism In A Bag – Yes, You Read That Right." (4)

  1. I was appalled by the schools actions as well.

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  2. The person who put the boy in a duffel bag should not be teaching. The school called the mother because her autistic son was “acting out.” What are these people thinking?

    I’m not a teacher and have no experience with autism, yet realize that autistic children have control issues. They need to be handled differently than the average student. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius.

    Blessings – Maxi

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    • The thing that is mind boggling to me, is that his “acting out” was throwing a ball after he was told that he should put it away. That’s not acting out – that is being 9 or being a boy or even being frustrated. Was he given a “warning” that it was almost time to clean up? Autistic kids thrive on structure and don’t do well with transitions. It is totally unsurprising that he had difficulty moving from playing with the ball to another activity.

      It seems that the administrator told the teacher how to handle the student. Now, I am a strong, confident educator and I would tell the administrator to take a hike – but a teacher who has little to no experience and is frustrated and overwhelmed? It is the administrator that needs to be held accountable. The teacher, depending on the circumstances, maybe a little less so.

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      • Now, I am a strong, confident educator and I would tell the administrator to take a hike –
        Ok in this situation the administrator is wrong and the teacher shouldn’t have done that. However if you wish to keep your job there are times as a teacher you must follow what the admin wants. This has nothing to do with being confident or strong.

        Just this week my supervisor wanted me to issue consequences that I felt were in line but the way they were issued was unfair. I discussed this point and a compromise was reached.

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